Thelma & Louise Arrive in Style!

Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, February 18, 2010

The whole process of bringing out Thelma and Louise from the UK was far more complex than I ever could have imagined.  It wasn't so much the tests and treatments that both needed, but more so the paperwork and the fact that poor Grandma had to take them backwards and forwards to the vets, while I stressed from afar!  I lost count of the phone calls pestering the vet, Petair UK and Grandma and Papa.

We found the whole process so much more stressful because if there was even the slightest mistake within the paperwork the cat's flight would be off! 

Grandma and Papa kindly drove the cats down to Heathrow, choosing to leave at 4am to make sure that they were there with plenty of time to spare!  They were met at Heathrow by the company representative and Grandma and Papa said their goodbyes to their furry friends as they were loaded up into their travel crates.

We had requested a double crate where the cats had their own space but were separated by a metal screen so that they could see each other.  This we hoped would settle them, particularly Thelma who has always been the most nervous of the two.

I spent two disturbed nights, dreaming/wondering how things were going.  On the first night, I kept waking up and looking at my mobile to check whether Grandma and Papa had been trying to get in touch with me - was there a problem with the cats' paperwork???  After contact with them the following morning, I was able to relax to a certain degree, knowing that the cats were finally on their way.  The second disturbed night was spent dreaming/wondering if the cats were ok - had Thelma tried one of her escape acts on the tarmac as she was being loaded into the plane!!?  It is amazing how your mind plays tricks with you in the dead of night and you actually begin to believe the insane thoughts that are being tossed around in your head!

On the morning of the 18th, we were all up early and on the road to the airport - so very excited to see our furry family after being separated for 6 months! 

On arrival at the Bio-security building we noticed that a pet transport van had pulled up too.  We were to find out later, that Thelma and Lou were inside and had just been transported from the plane.

We had to wait impatiently for 15 minutes while the cats were tested for disease and fitness to enter New Zealand.  Trying to explain this to a VERY excited 5 year old was rather difficult, some how Lucy and I were able to keep Dan entertained until MAF released a certificate (but no cats!)  Once again a very difficult concept for Dan to understand!!  This certificate then meant that we could go to customs to get yet more paperwork.  Unfortunately, the customs department that we needed didn't open until 8.30am so we decided to walk there, instead of driving the car.  This managed to fill in the time and we arrived just as they were unlocking the doors.  Once the cats had cleared customs and we had yet more paperwork we had to return back to cargo to collect the final bit of paper.  The bit of paper which allowed them to release Thelma and Louise.

An extremely excited Lucy and Daniel followed the officer to see the cats, while I went to get the car.  I was trying to act all cool, however, as always I could feel the emotions rising from my stomach.  The butterflies and the huge lump in my throat - our little furry friends had arrived!  By the time I had reversed the car to the warehouse door I had tears welling up in my eyes and by the time I saw Lucy and Dan cuddling the cats I was blubbing!  I just couldn't help it.  It was a real mix of emotions - happiness to see them after so long, guilt for putting them through the journey and further guilt for having to leave poor Emma behind.  (I know that Em is happy with my Mum and Dad, however, the family unit doesn't feel quite complete.)

Lou and Thelma were sat in amongst the children, enjoying the fuss, Lou having a filthy face - just not sure where from!

We loaded them up and set off for home to introduce them to their new home.

I still can't believe after spending so much time in the container how well the cats appeared to be.  They didn't seem distressed in anyway and genuinely appeared pleased to see us.  To be honest, we had been expecting them to ignore us for days! 

Once home and safely inside we let them out.  They proceeded to crawl around nervously on their bellies as they explored their new surroundings.  Lucy and Daniel were so happy to see them and cuddle them, they really didn't want to go to school.  However, after several cuddles I forced them to school, promising them that Thelma and Louise would be there on their return.

After dropping off the children I raced back home, and proceeded to spend the rest of the day say on the sofa cuddling/stroking cats.  I don't know who was happiest - me or them!
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